Manufacturing growth strongest since 1994

4 May 2010

4 May 2010 | Lindsay Clark

Purchasers in UK manufacturing are experiencing the strongest growth in 15 years.

The CIPS/Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) figures released this morning revealed a figure of 58, where a score of 50 represents no change. The April figure is up from 57.3 in March.

Rob Dobson, senior economist at Markit Economics, said: “Manufacturers reported a flying start to the second quarter, with the weak pound boosting export growth to the fastest for at least 15 years. The data point to manufacturing output growing by as much as 2 per cent in the latest three months, suggesting the sector will provide a strong contribution to second-quarter gross domestic product.

“The sheer strength of the rebound in demand for manufactured goods is highlighted by an unprecedented increase in backlogs of work, the largest for at least 11 years, which in turn has encouraged manufacturers to raise staffing levels to the greatest extent for three years.”

The survey also showed growth of new exports hit a record high in the PMI data and employment growth at a three-year high as order book backlogs rose for the first time in survey history.

Commenting on the report, David Noble, chief executive of CIPS, said: “This performance of the UK manufacturing sector is hugely encouraging as it is proving surprisingly resilient. It is now growing at a rate of knots – maintaining the momentum gained in Q1 and faring much better than we could have dared hoped for this time last year.

“Positively, purchasing managers reported growth across all sub-sectors and in companies of all sizes. What’s more – given that stock levels are still relatively low, this is a trend we anticipate seeing for some time to come as firms work to try and meet increasing sales demand.

“The real turning point will come when manufacturers feel confident enough to increase their investment and start to build capacity again. The good news is there are already signs this is starting to happen as employment levels are slowly rising on the back of strained capacity and backlogs of work reported for the first time in over a decade,” Noble said.

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